The All New Branded in the 80s Podcast, Episode 3!


By Shawn Robare

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On this episode of the all new Branded in the 80s podcast I spend little time talking about one of my favorite 80s era collectibles, movie tie-in novelizations!  I cover a bit of the reason why I love them as a concept before diving into some discussion talking all about the 1985 Ghostbusters: A Supernatural Spectacular novel written by Richard Mueller.

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I cover some extended and deleted scenes as well as some all new material that wasn’t either in the script or the finished film.  If you want to read the book and don’t have the mulah to drop on the vintage copy, you can find it at the really awesome Spook Central site!

You can find the episode on iTunes, Stitcher, the Branded Facebook page, or you can also stream it directly from the handy player below, or download it directly by right-clicking and saving here.

In this episode’s shout-out I take a minute to point to my bud Philip Reed’s site BattleGrip.com and his new kickstarter project launching his latest toy collecting book, Action Figure Carrying Cases.

You can find Philip’s previous ultra rad books on Amazon by click in the covers below…

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You can subscribe to the podcast here!

  • mandymarie20

    This is kind of a side note, but since this covers Ghostbusters, will you see the new Ghostbusters film? My husband is a total Ghostbusters fan and really wishes they wouldn’t redo this 1984 classic – even if it was with men. It just seems desperate, like Hollywood lacks new ideas. Redos and sequels sometimes just really taint the original. I don’t want that for Ghostbusters. I’m thinking of Jar-Jar in Star Wars and the inconceivable Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull in particular. As a classic movie fan, the 2008 version of ‘The Women’ with the creepy plastic surgery mess that is Meg Ryan was retched and a total disrespect to the 1939 classic version starring the amazing talents of Joan Crawford and Norma Shearer. Is it too much to ask for a classic to be left alone?

    • I’m torn actually. On the one hand I do want to see it to give it a chance. I mean Paul Feig did work on one of favorite TV shows (Freaks & Geeks), and Kate Mckinnon looks so much like the Real Ghostbusters Egon that I kind of want to see it just for that.

      I’ve been getting better about not letting bad remakes and reboots taint my feelings on the originals. Part of the way that I do that is to focus on the positives, so like with Ghostbusters just concentrate on the fact that thanks to the new movie we now have Ecto Cooler back in stores!

      • TheNavigator

        Yeah I’m going to watch the new movie as I do all the remakes of films I love which are rarely if not never better than the originals. I was torn whether to watch the Robocop remake when it came out as its my favourite film but unfortunately I did and it was dreadful. I think the only god remakes were of 50s movies in the 80s like The Thing or The Fly as they did something completely different with them. Also my older brothers had the Gremlins And Ghostbusters Books the only one I can remember having although I’m sure I had more was the Karate Kid part 3 which I know is one of yours and Jaimes favourite movies! :)

        • That totally is one of our favorite movies (evidenced by this framed photo on our desks…)

          Weirdly enough the Robocop remake didn’t bother me that much, I think because I saw it in a very cool theater so I was distracted by other things. I also liked a few of the concepts (his family still hanging around, and the visual of what was literally left of Murphy removed from the cybernetic body.) But yeah, it wasn’t great…

  • Great podcast, Shawn! I too loved reading movie novelizations when I was a kid and I know for a fact that I read more movie novelizations than original books. Later I did go through a Stephen King and Clive Barker phase but Novelizations were always my favorite. I remember even being busted once in school, we were supposed to all be reading Of Mice and Men and the teacher caught me reading The Empire Strikes Back — I loved finding old novelizations at local bookstores. One of my favorite discoveries was reading the ALIENS novelization by Alan Dean Foster, there was a prologue about Newt’s parents finding the Alien ship, there was mention of technology that didn’t have a name in the film. Then there was an entire sequence with sentry guns that just blew my mind and then many years later when DVD came out and I saw the Director’s Cut I finally got to see the Sentry Guns in action. It was amazing! Another favorite was also another James Cameron film, The Abyss. The novelization for The Abyss is by Orson Scott Card of Ender’s Game fame. In 1989 The Abyss was being heralded as the most costly motion picture of all time, there was many stories being written about how insane James Cameron was, demanding it be actually filmed under water etc. The film was eventually delayed from an early summer release to late August. I was really bummed, I was looking forward to the film immensely because of Terminator and Aliens being freaking awesome movies! I was totally disappointed I had to wait even long to see the film but the Novelization was in book stores on time and I picked it up wondering if I should actually read it and spoil the movie. I decided to wait. The film came out and it is amazing, if you have seen it then you know that in the third act, the film kind of just ends. It’s a little goofy the way the undersea aliens decide to help our blue collar crew of oil workers and it’s over. I then dove into the book which had an amazing third act that I will let you experience if you have never read it or have seen the Director’s Cut of the Abyss, which is not on blu ray! Novelizatoins can truly give us an experience that we didn’t get to see theatrically for whatever reason, budget etc. Thanks for an amazing podcast!

    • Totally! I did end up seeing the director’s cut of the Abyss on a bootleg VHS I got at a comic convention in the 90s and was blown away by the alternate ending (one which I vastly prefer.) I need to pick up that novelization for sure. Thanks for the kind words on the podcast sir, very glad you’re digging it!

  • philipreed

    Thanks for linking to the new book!

    Also, I see that someone has listed some of my older books on Amazon again. No guarantees how long these will be available at Amazon; the supply is getting pretty low here at home and the retailers have to be close to out of books.

    • No problem, hopefully I get some eyes on it, only $103 to go! I mention it in the show as well.
      Also, maybe those two copies on Amazon will get picked up too. I know I love mine :)

  • Steve L.K. Macrocranios

    The one 80s movie adaptation that sticks in my mind the most (and not necessarily because I thought it was good) was the comic adaptation of Transformers the Movie. It’s so different from the movie that it’s tonally almost another movie. Hot Rod doesn’t interfere with the Prime/Megatron fight, there’s no Bah-wap-nee-nee wah-wah, Unicron uses something like misty farts to eat planets, it’s crazy. When I was a kid I got issue one before going to the theater to see it and I was really really confused. I was looking forward to that awesome scene where Kranix transformed!

    • You know, I’ve never read those. I have digital copies hanging around somewhere, I need to pull those out and go through them. Also, LOL at ‘Misty Farts’.

    • ShadowWing Tronix

      I think that’s an early script. I know they changed the scene in the comic where the Sweeps tear Ultra Magnus apart with the shooting scene.

      • I wonder, are their scripts floating around out there for TF: The Movie?

  • Rockox

    The other way I was able to relive my favourite movies back in the day was through readalong books. Star Wars, the Dark Crystal, E.T., the Black Hole, Raiders, Tron…so much good stuff.

    The novelizations that stick out the most for me were:

    Return of the Swamp Thing – The movie had such a limited theatre run that I was never able to see it on the big screen, so I had to settle for the book. I even had trouble getting a rental copy of the movie and it must’ve been years before I was finally able to watch it. It probably was not worth it.

    Gremlins 2 – If anything, for the scene where the gremlins take over the book instead of the movie as shown in the flick.

    Superman IV: The Quest for Peace – This had a ton of deleted stuff that finally surfaced a few years ago on Blu-ray.

    Aliens – What I remember the most from this was that lots (all?) of the profanity from the movie was missing in the book. Even Ripley’s most famous quote appeared in the novel as “Get away from her, YOU!!”

    • Oh hell yeah. I love read alongs to death, especially the weird ones like the version of ET read by Michael Jackson, or that the Goonies books is read by Chunk. My bud Rob recreated a read-along for the movie The Thing, which you can listen to and watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifxq7ItckXM

      I need to pick up the Superman Novelizations. I was always curious if the one for Superman 3 was better than the movie (of which besides the crazy robot lady at the end, I’m not a fan of.) Also, that’s really weird about Aliens. Especially since I heard that the violence and gore was amped up in the book…

      • Rockox

        I don’t have Superman IV anymore, but I actually just found Superman III in the wild a few months ago. I’d be happy to donate it to you once I’ve read it.

        • That would be very rad of you sir! I just picked up what I thought was the novelization of Superman I, but it turns out that it’s just a new story in the guise of a novelization. Apparently Mario Puzo, who wrote the script to the first two Superman flicks, had a clause in his contract that would forbid any novelizations based on his writing. So Warner Bros had a new story commissioned and they put a novelization cover on it and inserted 16 pages of photos from the movie. Weird…

          • Rockox

            So the Last Son of Krypton doesn’t follow Superman I or II at all? Weird indeed.
            Oh and that readalong book for The Thing is boss.

          • I’ll pass that on to Rob :) Yeah, that Last Son of Krypton is such a weird cash-in that doesn’t even actually cash in on the film (except using Reeve on the cover and having some photos in the middle…)

  • ShadowWing Tronix

    I mentioned it in a separate post, but the adaptation of Total Recall ends any ambiguous elements of the movie by giving backstories for minor characters even after the visit to Recall, proving Hauser reformed, showing Quaid is a mild pervert, and the wild origin of the oxygen machine. And we also discussed the ET adaptation and the sequel, which is just too weird to bring up again. The scene where ET and Elliot were dying is a tearjerker though.

    Then you have the Gremlins 2 adaptation where the theater scene is replaced with the lead Gremlin taking over the book while the author is occupied. Some books have scenes out of order, like the Star Trek: TNG pilot or the first Michael Bay Transformers movie.

    What are your thought on comic event adaptations in prose novel form? I have Death & Return Of Superman and Nightfall and I remember liking them more or less but I need to re-read them.

    • You know, I never picked up any of the comic-to-prose novelizations (though I have read my fair share of the TSR choose your own adventure style Marvel books and a couple of the Batman stand alone novels.) I’d be curious to read one if it chronicled one of my favorite X-Men storylines, but I’m not sure any exist.
      That Gremlins 2 adaption sounds fun. That makes three variations for that scene. Wonder what’s in the original script?

  • I never got into the novelizations but adding more to stories I know by heart is really interesting. I will say that record albums were also a great way to relive the movies in the time when they weren’t easy to consume on demand. I know Star Wars did audio retellings with clips from the movie. Those read-along books/records were also great for cartoon shows and more.

    You also need to checkout this YouTube channel I found awhile back that does their own audiobooks for novelizations! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2TNJGmfnjsdWMBsG6O-ReA

    • Yup, read-alongs were sooo good! That youtube channel is awesome too. I wonder if they offer those as podcasts?

      • That would be great but some are like 6 hours long… which might be as long as it takes to upload! LOL

        • I could see them breaking them up maybe. But yeah, longass podcasts for sure… ;)